Monday, July 20, 2009

Clones from Clones?

There are two things to consider when cloning plants, particularly if you want to preserve the genetic characteristics for future crops. These are genotype and phenotype.

Genotype is the genetic make-up (DNA) of the plant, which is quite stable. Only in rare instances will genes tend to mutate, thus creating a slight variation.

The phenotype is the physical expression of a plant's DNA and may change under
different environmental influences. For example, the same genes grown in two different rooms may be similar but could appear slightly different in the finished product.

As long as you maintain a consistent environment and avoid a prolonged stress on a
mother plant or clone, a clone from a clone should remain very much like the original. However, it's often a good idea to start new mother plants from seed every few years. This helps maintain higher levels of vigor. Stuff can happen to plants after being grown for several years.

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